Lindbergh Foundation Leads Aviation’s Earth Day Celebration

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This week’s Sun ‘n Fun show overlaps Earth Day, and the fact has not been lost on the aviation community. Tuesday night, the Lindbergh Foundation debuted a new documentary film by Miles O’Brien, formerly of CNN, who accompanied Patty Wagstaff to Kenya to report on her work training pilots for the Kenya Wildlife Service. On Wednesday, foundation director Knox Bridges said he expects that support for that project will be ongoing for the foreseeable future. “It’s such a good fit for our mission,” he said. John and Martha King, who are supporters of the Lindbergh Foundation, introduced a new program called “Aviation Green,” which encourages pilots to contribute 8 cents for every gallon of fuel they burn to support the foundation’s projects. The idea is to provide an alternative to “carbon offset” programs, contributing instead to support the foundation’s work to preserve the natural environment through the smart use of technology. “We want to provide an opportunity to do something positive for the environment,” John King said. “We need to promote ‘comfortable environmentalism.’ Asking people to give things up is not effective.”

The Kings also announced the foundation’s grant winners for this year, which included projects to improve wastewater treatment in developing countries, to research the impact of wind turbines on birds, and to investigate the impact of genetically modified crops on soils. One aviation project was funded, the Electraflyer electric airplane project by Randall Fishman. Fishman has built a single-seat airplane, a modified motorglider, that runs on batteries, emissions-free. He is now working on a two-seat version that will be marketed in a kit version. Each grant is for $10,580, the amount that Lindbergh spent to build the Spirit of St. Louis.

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